[cross-posted from the SC board -Michael]

We are finally back home for good now. Many of you know that we have moved states this Spring and it has been somewhat chaotic and crazy over here. We have been debating heavily back and forth on school versus homeschool. My last post was regarding my eldest and I think we will keep him home no matter what. These are the three I am struggling to decide on! Yes, I know it is August and we need to make our decision Quick!
DS11 This is what we did last year:

-Barton Tutoring (2X per week). This tutoring has really been so beneficial to him and I am seeking out a new tutor or I also know someone who does it online (might be a good option too as the tutors I could find are almost 30 min drive away).
Outside of tutoring I had him reading along with books on Learning Ally. This year I am going to give him a list of books which utilizes the books recommended by MP as well as the 1000 good books list. He loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid and I resisted it for so long but realized that he would actually sit down and read those and it really opened him up to sitting and reading for pleasure. Unfortunately, now I have to try and expand his horizons to better books because I'm not crazy about those ones and he knows it. He tends to resist reading out loud to me as he does not like to be corrected.
For Spelling, we also would review some of the Spelling Lists from the Barton Levels he had already done. He still seems to struggle a lot with spelling and I don’t know if it is a confidence issue or what. He can spell quite well during sessions but struggles with it outside of sessions when he is trying to write. I know part of it might be that he is obviously using more energy trying to figure out sentences and such versus just simply spelling words and another part of it is that he feels like "it takes too long". He is always talking about how much tie all his work takes and how he doesn't get much time to play. I try to gently remind him that as he gets older, the work will get more challenging and the work will take longer. I also remind him that if he were in school, he would have to work all day as well without a bunch of breaks. There isn't much recess in Middle School, even at the private Catholic school.

Christian Studies
- I had him doing the Bible Story edition of SC3 writing with TJ (except I can’t combine them because Anthony is quicker and then he ends up bored and waiting on his big brother. We read the Bible stories as a group in the morning. This year I think if we are going to finish it I need to give them coloring pages to go with the stories or something. My kids tend to be flopping around or distracting each other when we try to do group subjects. I don't know that I will have him finish the writing book (see Writing below).

- I left off doing Prairie School with him and he can read it fine. We made it through half of the workbook before we had to pack it all up to move. I was only making him write 1 sentence or so on the comprehension questions. He gets very grouchy about having to write at all and then he writes it very sloppy. I might have to just start enforcing a rule of "you copy it neatly or you do it again". I guess I should say that I mostly made him write it. It wasn't copied. I was trying to challenge him to spell words because I knew he could. I gave him any words I knew for sure he hadn't covered in Barton. Maybe I should have kept it as copying from my sentence instead? Does it ever make sense to just put a child in the proper Literature class and use it just as discussion or is the recommendation to keep him at the second grade literature? This is a child who could go to college and sometimes I wonder if I haven't pushed enough or if I am holding him back? His older brother has far greater challenges so I sometimes feel unsure what to do for this son of mine.

- We switched over to Teaching Textbooks last year, but then he asked me if he could do MathUSee again because he really liked it. So, we did both because MathUSee we were on Multiplication and he was doing Teaching Textbooks level 4 which was behind MathUSee anyway, but it had other components that were good. I have never used Rod and Staff at this point and so I am hesitant to take on a new program this year, but also want to help my son do a little "catch-up". He was able to memorize his multiplication tables by using Times Tales. It was amazing. Even for myself the stories stick in my head. So cool to see that. He has his addition and subtraction facts memorized, but is not a "quick recall". He has to think about some of them sometimes. Unsure if there is a good way to help him with this or not.

Penmanship and Writing
- NAC2 (We made it to pg. 75). Again his cursive is pretty good. He just bawks at putting pen to paper and if the sheet says to do it 5 times, he will respond with "What?!?!? That is going to take me FOREVER!" I guess I need to be a bit less "nice" and simply say, when you have finished let me know. I have confidence you can do this and walk away. For Writing last year, we started out with IEW SWI-A (I made it to Lesson 11 but he again complained all the time about how long it took and I was basically scribing for him. I decided to go back to the SC3 Bible Story writing and the Prairie School book to get him putting pen to paper more. I love the IEW program but it was hard for me to fit it all in last year. He also was working in the SC3 Copybook. He made it to page 39. That is where we left off.
This year, I am considering taking a class at a local Co-Op. There is a husband and wife team who had a son with sever dyslexia. The wife is a dyslexia practitioner (I had never heard of this) and the husband teaches a Grammar/Writing Class. His grammar program is multisensory and was created for kids who need that kind of learning. It is called Linking Blocks. The writing class will take my son from writing simple sentences to writing paragraphs. My prayer is that having my son be accountable to someone else for a year will help me hold him accountable. Additionally, he will be working with someone who understands the challenges these kids have. For me this year, I am thinking this would be a good place to put him. My hope is that I can then translate that into whichever spot he should be in for MP next year potentially. Any thoughts or feedback are welcome. This would cover both Grammar and Writing for me.

- I was thinking for all my kiddos that we might just do the SC3 History together as a group. My 11-yr old has already read most of the "Meet …" books on his own. He hasn't read some of the others yet. I was debating on putting him in a simple science class at the co-op since right now I do not know if I will be able to accomplish this.
I am debating on trying to combine him and his sister (9) with States and Capitols. They have already memorized these once before, but I thought a review might be good. Either that or I was considering Geo. 1?
I am sorry this is so long-winded. I am trying to give some additional details surrounding our experiences in the past so you have some background on my kids. Thanks for bearing with me!

DD (9) - Should be a third grader.

- Last year, I am bummed to admit that I gave up after a month and went back to AAR/AAS. I was so comfortable with
that system. The issue I am having is that each session takes around 35 minutes and there is no writing involved. So I tried adding in Storytime Treasures in addition to it and ended up just plain switching to STT. She made it to Lesson 4 of Frog and Toad in the book.
I had her do CSP2 in correlation to our lessons in AAR, so she has done (Unit 1 - all but sounds of g and s, Unit 2 - all except Long vowels and y in context, r-controlled vowels for ur, ir and er, Unit 3 All except we left off at Final consonant blends in context (pg.93 and that was where we had to stop in the book to move)
Another thing I learned was
that having one set of phonics cards doesn't work so well. I was constantly trying to figure out who needed which cards and where had I put them because another kids needed some of the same. It was bad. This time I know I will need a set for each kid! Question is this: Maria has done silent e long vowel words as part of AAR but she hasn't covered the vowel teams. I am considering going back into FSR and covering only those items that need covering or else just bumping her ahead and using the Spelling program to help her learn some of the finer details. She can actually read a Magic Tree House book with less that five errors usually. So, I'm not sure if I should be holding her back or not. Another thought I had was to just have her read the STT/MSTT books to me to see if she is reading them fluently. If so, I am considering skipping them to place her into 2nd grade core, but I am wondering if that is a good idea. I am also considering going back to Traditional Spelling 1.

- Obviously we haven't done any of this and I would love to try and combine her and her 11-yr old brother in 2nd grade Prima Latina, but unsure if this is a good idea or not.

- As stated above, we were reading the stories together last year from SC3, but we didn't make it all the way through. I was considering looking at where second grade starts and making this an Independent part of her day with me as opposed to a group. Unsure.

- She was in TT online and was doing Math3, but she got stuck at addition with regrouping so we had to slow it down there and went back to MathUSee to help her understand it better. She is doing better with it but still doesn't grasp it fully. She is a child who gets frustrated with me because she says I make it harder to understand. The only other issue I can see with Teaching Textbooks is that she doesn't want to write down any of the harder problems such as I mentioned above. She just wants to do it in her head. It is frustrating.

- Maria had already done NAC1 so last year we just tried to review the letters. She made it to pg. 91 in Copybook 2 but I did not have her memorize any of it. She just used it as Copywork only. I was considering bumping her up to NAC2 and either have her do Cursive Copybook 1?

- We didn't do anything other than Classical Conversations last year. This year I was considering signing her up for a simple science class just for fun, but not taught by me. Only if it doesn't require a lot of homework.

DS (6) - Has a really hard time sitting still!!!

- Last year I started him in MPK, but I realized that the writing was going to be overwhelming as I had only ever done "salt tray writing" with him before that. So, I went back to AAR Pre-Reading and use Zaner Bloser K pages to practice writing the letters. We did get into AAR1 around Level 6. We only made it through FSR-A lesson 3. I am considering doing MPK again and just expediting the parts where he is simply learning a letter as he already knows his letters and their sounds. He is the kid who gets very ancy and wants to know when he is DONE so he can go play. He actually has very good pencil grip, but I was letting him use a thin marker to write. I like the Friction ones that can erase. They are fun. I did not have him continue in CSPK/1 and maybe that is a good thing if I am going to start it over.

Classical/Christian -
I had him listen in on the Bible stories that we were doing in SC3. It was basically just a read aloud for him.

Math -
I was trying to do MathUSee Primer. We also did Numbers Book 1 and only the first page of Numbers Book 2. I am considering going back to R&S
or just moving him into MathUSee Alpha.
I have never used R&S Math. I was trying to switch my older kids over to Teaching Textbooks so that I could free myself up slightly.

Penmanship/Writing -
We did not do the Copybook last year. He only wrote on the handwriting pages and the numbers book and math pages.
I didn't do any Recitation or Enrichment.
Again, as you can see, I tried to switch us over to MP last year (alongside CC), but I was trying to read every teachers manual and do everything verbatim and not thinking that some of it was written for a class and looking to adapt. I was overwhelmed and didn't do it justice which is why I want to try again. This year is going to be very hard for me as we have a baby coming mid-September. My youngest is 6, so we are a bit "removed" from the baby stage. Now I have to figure it all out while adding a new baby which is also going to be new again for me. I struggle with discipline and having kids goofing off or interrupting and such. I am going to have to lay down the ground rules and figure out the consequences now and have them all laid out. We are also in a new state and we don't know many people. It makes it challenging to find community so I am looking at a Co-Op to give my kids things such as Art, Gym, and some other fun things if I can find them! Thank you for all your feedback. My husband and I have had a tough summer of trying to decide if we will homeschool or not as well as trying to get settled into our new situation here in a new state. It has been tough on the kids as well having to leave all their friends behind. So, this is going to be an interesting year!!!
DS (14)
DS (11)
DD (9)
DS (6)
Baby Due Sep. 13!!!